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03/15/09 2:14 PM ET

Padres pick up reliever Sanchez

GM Towers says former Mets pitcher will compete for 'pen role

PEORIA, Ariz. -- In their quest to solidify their bullpen, the Padres signed 29-year-old right-hander Duaner Sanchez to a Minor League contract, general manager Kevin Towers confirmed on Sunday.

Sanchez was released by the New York Mets on March 10. The general consensus was the Mets were concerned about his velocity and doubted that he could reclaim the form that he had in 2006 as a rookie.

Sanchez has a career record of 18-10 with a 3.91 ERA in 276 games since breaking into the Major Leagues in 2002 with Arizona. He spent the last two years with the Mets and went 5-1 with a 2.60 ERA in 49 games in 2006.

It was after the 2006 season when Sanchez was injured in a taxicab accident that would necessitate two subsequent shoulder operations. He missed all of 2007 and part of '08 as well.

The Mets saved about five-sixths of Sanchez's $1.6875 million salary by releasing him before March 18.

Towers said Sanchez's velocity ran about 87 mph and that he has complimentary pitches that could make him the late-inning reliever the team is looking for, possibly the eighth-inning specialist to set up former Mets teammate Heath Bell.

"I know I have it," Sanchez told The New York Times on Monday of his velocity. "I've got no problem with that. I just don't want to come out of the chute throwing hard. That's not me. I want to make sure that when I reach back, I know I have it there."

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.